What is pneumonitis?

Pneumonitis involves inflammation in the lungs. As a form of allergic reaction, it occurs if the individual is exposed to substances such as mold or bacteria that irritates the air sacs in the lungs.

The condition can be treated, but it can result to lasting scarring and even lung damage if not detected and treated early.

Indications

The initial symptoms generally arise within 4-6 hours after inhaling an irritating substance which is called as acute pneumonitis. The individual feels as if he/she has the flu or another respiratory ailment with symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Fever
    pneumonitis

    A doctor should be consulted if the symptoms of pneumonitis are present, particularly shortness of breath.

  • Chills
  • Joint or muscle pain

If not exposed to the substance again, the symptoms should settle in a few days. If exposure continues, the individual can develop the chronic type which a long-term condition.

Indications of the chronic type include:

  • Chest tightness
  • Dry cough
  • Appetite loss
  • Tiredness
  • Unintentional weight loss

A doctor should be consulted if the symptoms of pneumonitis are present, particularly shortness of breath. The earlier the potential trigger is avoided, the more likely to reverse the condition.

Management

The ideal way to alleviate the symptoms is avoidance of the trigger substance. If the individual works around mold or bird feathers, it is recommended to change jobs or use a mask.

The following measures can help alleviate the symptoms of pneumonitis but will not cure the disease:

  • Corticosteroids works by reducing the inflammation in the lungs.
  • Oxygen therapy is delivered via a mask or nasal prongs
  • Bronchodilators work by relaxing the airways to allow better breathing

In case the lung is severely impaired that the individual could not properly breathe even with treatment, lung transplant might be considered.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on pneumonitis is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage breathing issues, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.

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